Hardware design limits usability of wearable devices, finds Strategy Analytics

As the need for complex, differentiated use cases for wearable devices grows, so too will their size and weight increase causing discomfort to users wanting to wear them daily. A recent study from the User Experience Strategies (UXS) service at Strategy AnalyticsUXS Technology Planning Report: Wearables”, investigating the needs, behaviors and expectations of consumers regarding wearable devices, has found hardware design is one of the most obstructive factors for wearable devices because it inhibits what they can actually do.

Key report findings:

  • There is a need for wearables to be comfortable and lightweight, which conflicts with the ideals of longer battery life and more distinct applications; there is only so much a small device can do.
  • Even smart earbuds and headsets (hearables) that offer distinct audio manipulation features are inhibited by their short battery life and dependency on a smartphone. They are too small to be truly independent devices.
  • But the emergence of network connected wearables hints towards a future where the size and design of a wearable will be less of an impediment; wearables could stream content to the user as opposed to processing it locally, reducing the need for weighty internal components.
Mathew Alton

Mathew Alton, analyst and report author commented, “To ensure that wearables are comfortable when worn, cloud-based processing is a viable solution. In this relationship, the network would offset the local processing required from a wearable, allowing the hardware to be designed around comfort rather than compromised with the addition of hardware components.”

Chris Schreiner, director of Syndicated Research, UXIP, added, “But the caveat here is the requirement for network services; and this will undoubtedly introduce cost. While this will breathe new life into the wearables market, manufacturers must work hard to provide the most cost-effective solutions.”

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